Ultimate Linen Guide for Weddings & Special Events

Preparing and decorating a special event yourself can be a daunting task. You have to consider everything from invitations, food, venue, decor, etc. But with proper organization skills, putting a celebration together should be a breeze.

One key detail DIY brides and wedding planners should focus on are table linens. From wedding receptions to birthday celebrations, linens can instantly transform any event space.

It may seem like a small detail but it plays a massive role in enhancing the atmosphere for special occasions like these. Event planning terminology can be confusing but we hope this linen guide can prepare you well when meeting with your event planner, venue coordinator, or as you plan your DIY wedding. So buckle up as we guide you through a detailed event decor 101 for setting up wedding table linens.

Wedding Reception Table Linen Guide

1. Table Cloths

wedding table

Let’s start with the basics. Whether round or rectangular, this piece of fabric used to cover unsightly tables can instantly transform a dull reception to a fabulous one. The right table linens add color, show your style and help create a cohesive and enhanced atmosphere during your special event.

White tablecloths are a classic choice for weddings and other formal events. They're versatile enough to work with a variety of color schemes, from vibrant tones to muted neutrals.

CV Linens offer tablecloths of different shapes and sizes to fit your event needs. Whether you’ve decided to use round or rectangular tables, we have a tablecloth to fit your table. Choose from 90-inch,108-inch,120-inch, and 132-inch tablecloths for round tables and 60x102 inches, 60x120 inches, 60x126 inches, 90X108 inches, 90X132 inches, and 90X156 inches for rectangular banquet tables, and more.

2. Table Runners

beautiful table runners

Table runners bring character to the table. Literally. They run down the middle of a round or rectangular table and help define the area for centerpieces. CV Linens offers table runners of different sizes ranging from 12 inches to 27 inches in width and 108 inches and 120 inches in length.

You can use runners in bold colors to add contrast against plain colored table cloths or printed patterns over wooden tables. You can even add texture over crisp white table cloths with chiffon runners, perfect for elegant tablescapes. 

3. Overlays

blue table overlays

Table overlay toppers as the name suggest are placed over tablecloths. They can be used as a protective layer for the tablecloth but also add dimension to the design of a table and give it a pop of color.

CV Linens offer a wide variety of overlays to bring more life to the table and be one with the theme of the reception. We offer all the common sizes from 54 inches, 72 inches, to 90 inches, and even 85” in  specialty fabrics, for both round and rectangular tables.

We also have spandex table caps for round, rectangular tables, and cocktail tables, which can help cover table skirt clips when using table skirts.

4. Table Skirts

lavender table skirts

Speaking of table skirts, these long linear table linens are a quick way to curate specialty table looks.  They are used mainly for accent tables such as buffet tables, welcome tables, sweetheart tables, dessert tables, and more. This decorative linen is attached to the side of the tables using table skirt clips.

CV Linens has a wide variety of side skirts for any event imaginable, with common sizes ranging from 14 feet, 17 feet, and 21 feet and can be used on round or rectangular tables as well.

5. Napkins

wedding rustic style

From simple to elegant napkin folds, napkins help enhance the guests' dining experience by keeping their faces and hands neat when eating meals.

Wedding napkins may be one of the smaller details of a party but they have a large role in place settings. Help the tablescape stand out by choosing adventurous designs, bold patterns, and colors that coordinate with the wedding theme.

CV Linens offer a wide variety of 17” and 20-inch napkins with different texture and designs for you to choose from.

6. Chair Covers

chair covers

Chair covers can turn dull, overused event chairs into elegant guest seating. Chair cover styles include ones that only cover the back of Chiavari chairs to full coverage that covers the chair back, legs, and seats of banquet and folding chairs.

CV Linens offers chair covers for folding, banquet, and Chiavari chairs in a wide variety of colors, styles, and materials.

7. Chair Sashes

chair sashes

You might wonder: what is a chair sash? Also known as chair bows, they're the colorful fabric that wraps around banquet or folding chairs to give a fun accent to event chairs.

Adding chair sashes to a bare chair can enhance the look of the seat, or they can be paired with chair covers for a more formal look.

Let CV Linens provide you with colorful and stylish chair bow ties to accessorize your event chairs.

8. Chair Bands

chair bands

If you're planning a large event, tying chair bows on chairs can take up a lot of time. To save valuable time, consider using chair bands instead. Chair bands are made of stretchable material (usually spandex or velvet), that wraps around the backrest of a chair with ease and fit almost any chair design.

CV Linens offers chair bands in various styles including standard, ruffle, and glitz sequin designs to coordinate with any event style and theme.

9. Drapes & Backdrops

wedding backdrops

To further enhance the venue, use drapes and backdrops to divide areas as a VIP lounge, used for photo booths areas, or placed behind the main stage or dessert tables. Backdrop decor is a quick and easy way to transform any simple venue into a more lavish one or create a picture-perfect backdrop for photo opts.

CV Linens has an extensive selection of backdrop drapes for any kind of event. The most common drape sizes used with pipe and drape sets are 8 feet, 10 feet, 12 feet, and 14 feet long as well as 20,30, and 40ft long used for ceiling draping.

These are a few of the most common and basic linens used in the event planning industry. If you're unsure what size tablecloth you need or if chair covers fit all chairs, we can help. Check out our handy Linen Sizing Guide, which gives a detailed sizing chart and calculator.

Which Fabric Is Best For Special Events?


polyester fabric

Polyester is made of synthetic fabric that is durable and won’t shrink like cotton. The durability of polyester linens has made them a customer favorite since they can be used for simple and casual events to even large formal gatherings.

Some of the most popular polyester linens include napkins, chair covers, and tablecloths.


satin fabric

Satin linens are made of polyester fibers that are spun to miick the soft and shiny finish of silky satin. Satin linens can be used for upscale and glam events like weddings and anniversaries.

They are one of the most popular materials since they are available in any linen type. Spun satin can also be machined washes for ease of use and convenience.

Lamour Satin

lamour satin

Lamour satin is a variation of normal satin without the shine, giving it a matte finish If you need help deciding between polyester and satin, lamour satin is the perfect inbetween choice.

It is commonly used for semi-formal events and can easily be dressed up or down, just like normal satin, they can be used in any linen.


taffeta fabric

Our taffeta fabric features a subtle woven texture that gives out a more crisp look for any setting or application.

Taffeta linens are often used as accent pieces and are available in many patterns including accordion, crushed, leaf petal, petal circle, and more.


velvet fabric

Velvet is one of the most common types of fabric used for elegant and romantic occasions. The soft, plush, and luxurious texture add warmth to events taking place in colder months but also adds glamor to any event when used in the form of tablecloths, napkins, or drapes.


chiffon fabric

Chiffon is a lightweight sheer flowy fabric with  a transparent finish. It gives out a cool look and feel, which is why chiffon table linens are commonly used for boho, beach, or garden weddings.

Because chiffon is light and airy, it’s also great for draping wedding arches, ceiling swags, and backdrop drapes designs.

Glitz Sequin

glitz sequin

Add a sparkle to your event when you use taffeta or mesh-backed sequin drapes, tablecloths, runners overlays, and more.

From retro-themed parties to glamorous weddings, this sparkly material is ideal for accent tables like sweetheart tables or cake tables.

How To Extend The Life of Event Linens

Taking care of these types of event linens can sometimes be tricky. But don’t you worry. We have a materials and care guide you can check out for proper maintenance so you can use them for many special occasions.

We hope that our event decor 101 on table linens helped you answer any questions you had about deciding on which materials and decor item you’ll use for your wedding or event. If you are planning and styling your own party, keep in mind that you need to consider your guests’ experience as well so they’ll enjoy the night just as much as you will.

Visit our Pinterest and Instagram pages for other event styling inspirations.

Shop Our Collections

Economy Polyester Tablecloth Round - Burnt Orange
Glitz Sequin Table Overlay Topper 90"x90" Square - Blush/Rose Gold
Glitter Tulle Tutu 14ft Table Skirt - Navy Blue


Table Overlays

Table Skirt

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If you’re still not convinced or struggling for inspiration, check out our Instagram or Pinterest page, you’ll be amazed at what is possible!

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